an open letter to the yeah write community

My mom was a writer. She was, in fact, the best writer I know. And I don’t say that because she passed away in December. I’ve always thought it and said it and believed it to be true.

That’s why it meant so much to me when she provided feedback on my writing. Despite having a public blog for the past 10 years, Mom was the only one who read anything I wrote. Or at least she’s the only one who cared enough to write back.

She sent many of her comments via email. And I saved them. Filed them away for safekeeping so I could read them again one day. So I could hear her encouraging words in my head.

Genna,

I was reading a little of your blog, and I think it is so amazing. And so YOU.

And you are one special woman on this earth. I’m glad the earth gets to share its circling with you.

I think you are a phenomenon!

Love,

Mom

Or in response to a specific piece I sent her:

Genna,

What you’ve written here is absolutely stunning–it moved me. YOU are such a gifted writer or words–a woman of exquisite depth that few at your age GET. I’m proud to be your mother–to watch your stars shine.

THANK YOU for sending me this part of you.

Mom

When Mom left, I wanted to write. I wanted to write out the grief. I wanted to write out the incomprehension. I wanted to write out the numbness. But for me, part of wanting to write is wanting someone…anyone to read.

And so I decided to give WordPress a try. I moved over my works from other blogs, started writeamuck.com, and wrote my little heart out. All while trying not to think about how much I wanted to send links to Mom–to hear her gush over it in the sweet way that mothers do.

I’d only been on WordPress for a little over a month when I noticed a small uptick in blog visitors.

I looked at the referral links; the new traffic was all coming from a single source: YeahWrite.me.

That’s when I discovered this community, the first community of writers—outside of just me and my mother—that I’ve ever been a part of.

Excited to find this gem, I set out to write my first post specifically for the Challenge Grid. Like never before, I searched for inspiration and a strong theme. And once again Mom was there to nudge me along; I wrote a post titled “the lost and the found” about losing her and how we remember.

That post was voted audience favorite that week on the grid and was later picked up by Freshly Pressed. I mention it not to brag but to say thank you. Because if I’d never found this community, I doubt I’d ever have written it.

Now I look forward to the grids every week. I’m pushed to improve. I’m encouraged to continue. And I’m inspired by reading what everyone else writes.

On the days that I long to send something to Mom, on the days that I wish she was still here to be my favorite writer and most dedicated reader, I’ll skim through the comments left for me by my Yeah Write friends. And read through new stuff by my favorite writers who blog and bloggers who write.

And it lifts my spirits. And it restores my confidence. And above all else, it makes me want to keep writing.